Medium has been one big science experiment to me lately. I’m trying to look at my articles like a chemist would look at a formula to determine what’s working, and what’s not, then modify my original hypothesis and try again.
In April, I changed my Medium formula by increasing the number of articles I wrote and published. I published eleven articles, which is the most I’ve published in a single month since starting on Medium, and I experimented with publishing poetry as well as creative nonfiction and the typical writing articles that always perform the best for me.
So now that April is officially over, I’ve been looking back at the month to see if my hypothesis — that more articles would mean more views, more curated stories, and, ultimately, more money — was true. And the results are in — it was a little bit true, and a little bit false. Now I’m ready to try again and rewrite the formula for May.
My curation rate for April was 73% — eight of my eleven articles were curated. While that percentage is by no means as good as my March numbers — I literally can never beat a 100% curation rate — it’s still pretty good considering the increase in articles I published.
Most of those curated stories were about writing, but I also had a creative nonfiction piece curated, a poem curated (which is totally new territory for me), and a couple of self-improvement articles chosen for further distribution. April was a bit of a mixed bag, but let’s take a look at exactly what that looked like:
Topic(s): Writing Article Title: We Need to Do Better with Simultaneous Submissions Publication: The Writing Cooperative Read Time: 6 Minutes
This article was inspired by some frustrations I have been facing as the poetry editor for a literary journal. It was my first article published in April, and it was curated in a topic I usually have good success in — writing. It got a decent amount of views, and I am happy with the outcome.
This was hands down my favorite piece I published in April — a creative nonfiction itty bitty personal essay about driving home during the sunset. I’ve really enjoyed writing creative nonfiction lately, and I’ve published a total of three pieces with Inspired Writer over the past several months, two of which have been curated — this one was curated in the topic nonfiction.
I ventured into the world of poetry on Medium in April, and this is one of two poems that were published in a new publication I joined, The POM. Only one of the poems published was curated (in the poetry topic, of course), and “Waning Gibbous” got a lot of fans and claps, which was exciting to see as someone who always gets extremely nervous publishing poetry.
Topic(s): Mental Health Article Title: The Simple Thing That Cured My Anxiety-Induced Insomnia Publication: ILLUMINATION Read Time: 4 Minutes
I’ve been experimenting with trying different types of articles than my usual writing-based articles lately, and this was one of those experiments. It didn’t perform particularly well, but it did get me curated in a new topic — mental health.
Topic(s): Money, Social Media Article Title: The TikTok That Saved Me Hundreds of Dollars in Medical Bills Publication: ILLUMINATION Read Time: 5 Minutes
I was super excited to write this article and get this information out into the world. Not only did I think it had viral potential, but it’s also about a topic that literally saved me hundreds of dollars and can do the same for anyone who reads it. Seems like a win-win, right? Well, if your idea of winning is getting curated in not one, but two new topics (money and social media), then yes, it’s a win. But it didn’t get very many views and in my book, didn’t perform very well.
Topic(s): Writing Article Title: Is Novel Writing Software Worth It? Publication: The Writing Cooperative Read Time: 6 Minutes
This is the first of my last three articles of the month, all on a topic that is back in my wheelhouse — writing. I guess I had writing on the brain — I was attending a writing conference (where I had a pitch to a literary agent that went remarkably well, I might add) — so that seeped into my writing. This was the most popular article of the bunch, too, with a lot of claps and a good chunk of responses that I had fun responding to.
Topic(s): Writing Article Title: 5 Ways to Make Writing a Less Lonely Business Publication: The Writing Cooperative Read Time: 5 Minutes
These last two articles were a whole other kind of experiment in and of themselves. I had been watching some YouTube Medium content from Zulie Rane and she was interviewing another successful writer on the platform. They both mentioned a certain title framework that worked really well for them — x ways to y, or a reasons why b happens. I honestly had avoided that type of title in the past, but I realized a lot of my articles were set up in a format that worked with those titles already, so I thought I’d try reframing the title to reflect that. The jury’s still out, though, on whether or not that made any difference.
Topic(s): Writing Article Title: 4 Steps to Write a Novel Manuscript in 4 Months With No Plan Publication: The Writing Cooperative Read Time: 5 Minutes
My second experiment with the aforementioned title changes, this article was published at the very end of the month and was distributed in the trusty old writing topic. It’s my newest article currently, so it’s still getting some views and fans and reads. Again, I’m not sure whether the title format is helping this article at all, but hopefully that will become clearer with time.
While my month of experimenting with the number of articles I put out on Medium definitely did give me some answers — I had my highest earning month so far on the platform — I by no means have a sound hypothesis to build my writing strategy off of month after month. I’m going to continue experimenting to see if I can do even better moving forward, and I know curation will inevitably play a role in all my future tests. Stay tuned for more answers as I tweak my formula, and retweak it again, in hopes of developing a sure-fire way to find success here, one experiment at a time.
Previously published in Curation Matters
*Note that curated refers to a process exclusive to the writing platform Medium wherin certain articles are selected to be further distributed and marketed on the platform via curators who work for Medium itself.